By Fred Katayama
NEW YORK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Carnivores who stood in a late morning line for roughly 30 minutes to dine at a new Japanese steakhouse in New York City remained standing once inside, part of a plan to allow customers to wolf down their food and move on.
Ikinari Steak, which opened last week in Manhattan's East Village, is seatless because, the restaurant said, it can sell more steaks, make more money and serve more customers if they are in and out in all of 30 minutes. There are no appetizers on the one-page menu of the Japanese steakhouse chain, no desserts or coffee.
Customers like Jacob Navok and his wife, Chihiro, found themselves at the butcher station choosing from rib eye, sirloin and filet and deciding how many ounces they wanted. The scale showed that their 5-ounce (142-gram) sirloin would cost $19.
"It's morning. I didn't want too big of a cut so it's something a little bit less," said Novak. "I'm very happy with that." Eli Kies opted for a chuck eye steak, salad, soup and rice that cost $20 dollars.
"I think it's a really good experience because I can burn calories as I eat," Kies said. "I'm standing up. Keep good posture. And eating some protein, so not bad."
To make money, the restaurant must pull in 200 customers a day, and founder Kunio Ichinose said there is more of a market for stand-up dining that in years past.
"When I wanted to open in New York, people said, "Hey, American people don't want to eat steak when they're standing,'" said Ichinose. "It was the same in Japan and there wasn't a culture. Now there's a culture." Ichinose said he intends to open 10 locations in New York this year and aims to list his company on the Nasdaq exchange in three years. (Reporting by Fred Katayama in New York; Editing by Melissa Fares)